Thursday, December 30, 2010

Crafty Moms - How do you do it?

I need advice from you crafty types. I've always had lots of hobbies: sewing, painting, book making, etc., and I'd love to get back into it. I just can't seem to find the time in my busy days full of motherhood. I know there are SO many other moms out there who are able to make a business out of their creative hobbies. The question is, how do you find the time?! I'd love to hear your suggestions and ideas!

Thirty-Four Weeks

Monday, December 13, 2010

Update on my insurance troubles.

Thanks to everyone who has called me and offered me advice on this! I ended up calling Aetna and appealing their decision to not pay for my anesthesia. The girl on the phone was very nice and understanding and helped me submit my appeal over the phone. She told me it would take 30 days to get an answer. I then called the medical billing office and explained the situation to them. The girl there was also very nice and understanding and told me that they would also appeal the decision. She told me that it wouldn't be a problem to get it covered. A couple days later I got a letter from Aetna (dated the day after my appeal!) stating that they had reversed their decision and would pay the full cost.

Hooray! That wasn't so hard...I wonder why they even made such a fuss over it in the first place if it was that easy. :P
 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Samantha's First Christmas Tree

The other night we went out for a family adventure to choose Sam's very first Christmas tree! In the past Mommy and Daddy have had a fake tree, but last year it was really on it's last leg (or trunk, ha ha) so we decided that this year we would buy a real tree. We had so much fun going out tree shopping! (Sam fell asleep on the way home, so she was EXTRA excited to find a tree in her house when she woke up the next morning!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Now I'm really upset.

Not only have I had serious feelings of guilt and inadequacy for not being able to give birth medication-free, but now the insurance company is saying that the bill for the epidural is not allowable and they are going to try to stick us with the $1500 bill. I could scream right now.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Seven Months





Dear Samantha,

Today you are seven months old! I am still amazed at how fast you are growing. You have become so much more like a little person in this past month. You are developing and learning so quickly!

This has been a very exciting month for you. You learned how to sit up, which was very exciting for Mommy and Daddy. You still fall over sometimes, but you are getting better and better at holding yourself up. You have been rolling over a lot now, and you are really trying hard to figure out how to crawl. You rest on your belly and push up with your arms and sometimes you even bend your knees. You haven't quite figured out how to raise your belly off the floor yet though. You know what you want to do, you just haven't been able to make it work yet. You reach out your arms for me to help pull you along for now.

You have also been using your walker a lot and you have figured out how to walk around the kitchen and living room. You really enjoy being somewhat mobile now! If I hold out my hands to you, you will walk your way over to me. You are doing really well with real walking practice, too. Mommy and Daddy hold your hands and help you walk. If you really want to go see something or someone, you will take huge steps to get there.

This month we took you on your first road trip to Colorado where you got to see Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt Joanna again, and you got to meet more of your aunts, uncles, and cousins. You LOVED being around so much family! You had a great time with the kids and you did great with other adults that you knew you could trust. This trip was also a great week of bonding time with Daddy. You seem to have learned that you can trust him more now. When there are other people around, you realize that Daddy is almost as good as Mommy. One morning while we were in bed, you were ready to get up, and out of the blue you said "Dada!" We were very surprised and Daddy was very thrilled.

On our trip you also went to visit a farm and you loved meeting the animals. The goats and the chickens were your favorite. The chickens made you laugh! You also surprised us and showed us that you can drink out of a straw now. You are so advanced! Your personality has started showing through so much since our vacation. You are a very outgoing and social baby. You love to meet new people and have FUN!

I am pretty sure it won't be long before you are crawling now. Just in these past couple of days you have been trying really hard, and you are very active in rolling and scooting yourself around. In a couple of weeks you will be going on a plane trip to Ohio to see more family, and I'm sure it's going to be very exciting. I can't wait for another wonderful month with my beautiful girl!

I love you,
Mommy

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Giving up on cloth?

Lately I have been so tempted to quit cloth diapering. Not because it's too much laundry or because they are too stinky or messy. Honestly, the number one reason is because they are so dang big. Half of Sam's outfits don't fit or they look ridiculous because of all that bulk. And it looks so uncomfortable for her sometimes!

We used disposables while we were on vacation (and we already use them overnight), and it was SO easy. And all her clothes fit so well. With Amazon Mom I've been able to buy disposables for much cheaper than I had imagined I could. And the laundry detergent for the cloth dipes is so expensive.

I'm just so tempted to make the switch to disposables permanently!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Sam's First Thanksgiving

Samantha had a great first Thanksgiving! We celebrated big time by hopping in the car and making a quick little drive to Colorado. Oh, did I say quick? I meant 19 hours. Split up over 2 days. She actually did great though. She slept a lot, and only had a couple of short little tantrums. Most of the time she was content to play in her seat with Mommy or Daddy sitting next to her. She did great in the hotels we stopped at too! Once we got to Colorado Sam got her first experience with cold and snow. None of that was a big deal compared to HOW MUCH FUN she had meeting her cousins and aunts and uncles!!! Grandma and Grandpa were pretty exciting, too. On the way home, Sam had her first Vegas experience. We stopped at the M for lunch and ate at the Hash House A Go Go. She was mesmerized by all the lights and sounds of the casino. So now she can say she saw Vegas, and doesn't need to go back until she's 21. ;)

 We stopped on the way to see Sam's Great-Grandma and Great-Aunt.

 Cousins are the coolest!!!!

 Grandpas give good backrubs.

 Girl cousins forever!

Sam thoroughly enjoyed her first visit to a farm.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

6 Months - Doctor Visit

Sammy finally had her 6-month checkup today. She is getting to be a little tank! Let's get right to the good stuff:

Height: 28 inches - 98th percentile
Weight: 17 lbs, 14 oz - 80th percentile
Head Circ.: 42 1/2 cm - 50th percentile

I was surprised to find that she has gotten so much taller. I guess I should have known though, since she has a much easier time standing in her exersaucer now! Her weight constantly amazes me. She weighs almost a pound more than I would have guessed. She is definitely a good eater! She is right on cue for all of her development. We are still having lots of constipation issues, but hopefully we'll get those resolved. I'm going to keep her on solids, but we are not feeding her ANY binders - no rice, no sweet potatoes, bananas, etc. Today she had oatmeal, pears, and prune juice. Mmmm....
We have to take her to a specialist in a couple of weeks to look at her head and make sure her cranium isn't closing up too soon. I'm very nervous - hopefully everything is okay!

Next visit? 9 months!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Six Months

Dear Samantha,

It's hard to believe it's already been half a year since you joined us! You are growing so fast and are becoming such a fun little person. This month you have been growing by leaps and bounds.

You decided to show us that you DO remember how to roll over - both from front to back and back to front! You did it quite often for about a week, and then quit again. We think you are too busy trying to figure out how to crawl and walk to have time for simple things like rolling over!

You became very ticklish. Your thighs are a great tickle spot, and your ribs and back are SO ticklish that you are almost in tears when Mommy tickles you too much. You just laugh and laugh when you are tickled!

You are more and more responsive now. Daddy came home one night and waved at you, and you waved back at him! You have started giving kisses too, not just receiving them. They are very wet, open mouth kisses, but you are getting the idea now!

You have been doing great with eating solid foods. You are over the whole idea of rice cereal - it must be too bland for you. Your favorites are pears and sweet potatoes. You aren't a huge fan of bananas and especially peaches and prunes, but you at least try them. We are going to try plums, mangoes, and oatmeal very soon! Your meal options are really expanding now. You are going to start eating solid food 3 times a day now instead of just one. You are a growing girl!

This month you started sleeping in your crib at night instead of with Mommy and Daddy. You are doing great! Some nights are better than others, but over all, you are starting to sleep longer and longer stretches at a time.

You are getting to be so much fun to take to the park now. You love to swing in the baby swings! Pappy bought you your very own swing, and Daddy just put it up in our back yard. You are SO excited to swing at your own house! The holidays are going to be so much fun with you. Your grandparents are all thrilled to have you come visit soon. It's going to be a great next 6 months for you!

We love you very much, Sammy!

Love,
Mommy & Daddy

Thursday, October 28, 2010

First Cold

Sorry for my lack of posts lately! Samantha has been experiencing her first cold, and it's a doozy. Mike and I have had it too, and it's hanging on for well over a week. :( Poor baby girl! She's a trooper though, and seems to be handling it better than Mike and I are. Hm, maybe we should try some of that breast milk - it seems to be the magic cure!

Anyway, Sam will be 6 months old in just over a week (already!!), and I will post more updates then!

Twenty-Five Weeks

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oh Shutterfly, how do I love thee!

Oh, how I love Shutterfly! Since Sam was born, I've been uploading all the photos of her to a special site just for her. It's great! Shutterfly has all sorts of options to customize your own page. You can design the look of it, add all sorts of fun little widgets to it, and you can customize the privacy options to make the site public, or so no one but authorized members can view it. All I have to do is upload pictures, and all the grandparents can view them and order prints of whichever photos they like! SUPER easy.

Shutterfly is great for prints, too. I can either order them to be delivered directly, or I can pick them up at a local store. I have ordered so many prints already! And, it seems like the more I order, the more coupons I get for more free prints. LOVE it!

I am already excited about their holiday card options! Check out some of these great designs:

 Burst of Snowflakes

 Vintage Snowflakes

Peppermint Palms

I'm not sure which photo we're going to use yet so I'm not sure which card we'll decide on. I was thinking that it would be a great time to get professional family photos done, but I'm pretty sure there's no way we'll be able to afford that. So, I'm sure we'll end up using one of Sammy's many adorable snapshots! I really like the Peppermint Palms card. It's perfect for us here in San Diego with our balmy Christmas weather. :) The Vintage Snowflakes is such a classic, elegant design though. It would be so pretty with some black and white shots!

Thanks to Shutterfly, we'll be able to get a great deal on holiday cards this year. They are already on sale - definitely go check them out!!! We didn't get Christmas cards out last year, so I am determined to make it happen this year.  I guess it's about time to get started! They even have Christmas Thank-You cards, if anyone is feeling extra ambitious. :)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A day at the Pumpkin Patch

Today we took Sam to the Bates Nut Farm to experience her first Pumpkin Patch trip. She had a great time! She was so interested in all the people (and there were a LOT of them, folks!). Mike and I couldn't believe how busy this place was! It was a lot of fun though. We started out by going in the shop (we needed to visit the ATM) and Sam had fun looking at all the decorations. She was especially interested in the Thanksgiving and Christmas trees. (I can already tell that Christmas is going to be FUN with Sammy!) Next we showed Sam the farm animals. She wasn't really interested in the geese or chickens, but she enjoyed the pigs and goats, and the donkey made her laugh.

After wandering for a bit, we made our way to the pumpkins for some photo opps. Our little pumpkin looked so cute posing in the pumpkins!






I can hardly wait for next year when she can run around and really enjoy everything else that Bates has to offer. I feel like we barely scratched the surface of all the fun!

She has been so much fun this past week. She started rolling over from front to back quite a bit now, and she has even rolled from back to front now. She is obsessed with her feet. She has been doing better and better at sitting up, and just today she has made great progress. I was shocked at how well she was holding herself up this morning. It's only a matter of time now before she can completely sit on her own! Mommy is so proud. :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Smart Knit Kids

The latest addition to Sam's wardrobe are some great new Smart Knit Kids socks. These things are awesome! So many of her socks either bunch up at the ankle and slide off or they somehow bunch up on her foot and hang off her toes. None of them ever seem to stay on and fit properly. These Smart Knit socks fit great. They are still a little big for her, but they do not fall off! The comfortable non-binding top doesn't pinch or bind, and doesn't slip down.


Sam also has some sweaty little feet for a baby. I can't quite figure out why, but they're always clammy. These socks are made to keep feet dry and healthy by wicking away moisture for a dry sock environment. And once she gets old enough to have stinky feet, these socks will be great for keeping away odor-causing bacteria.
Sam's SmartKnit Kids socks look great with Halloween leggings!


For more information about SmartKnitKIDS, please visit them online at www.smartknitkids.com.

"SmartKnitKIDS Socks are 100% truly seamless; they have “No Seams to Bug Ya!”  A truly seam free sock is great for kids with Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism, or for those who simply cannot stand annoying sock seams.  As well as being completely seamless, our socks are also form-fitting.  This ensures that there are no wrinkles or bunches.  A form-fitting design makes SmartKnitKIDS perfect for infant socks.  No matter how much your little one may wiggle, the socks don’t come off.  SmartKnitKIDS Seamless Socks do not have a heel so they can easily and confidently be slipped on.  The heal-less design also keeps your child from out growing their socks as fast. "
 Whether or not your child has sensory issues, no one likes to feel a sock seam. I remember how they used to drive me NUTS in my shoes when I was little! I highly recommend these socks. Through the 15th they are having an online sale. Click this link for details. Want to keep up with SmartKnit Kids? Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for updates and giveaways!

Halloween Party Season!


It's that time of year - time for Halloween parties! This year will be different now that we have a baby, and I am so excited. The past couple of years we haven't really done anything for Halloween so this year is going to be so much fun. I'm not sure what we're doing for trick-or-treating yet. Since Sam can't eat candy yet, I'd like to find some kind of family fun event.

One thing I'm VERY excited about is our Halloween Family Costume Party. I'm helping to host it, and I know it's going to be great. We have lots of goodies for the babies' goodie bags, and we're going to have all sorts of yummy treats for the adults. And of course, we'll have a costume contest! I'm going to keep our family's costumes a secret until Halloween. Don't worry...I'll post pictures!

I am in charge of putting together games for the Halloween party. I was lucky enough to be able to try out this great online database of Halloween party games from Python Printable Games. There are so many fun games in here. I wish I could try them all, but there's just too many for one Halloween party! Not only is this pack full of fun Halloween games but there are also some other great seasonal games as well, such as Harvest, Thanksgiving, and NFL-themed games. Most of the games are geared towards children and teens, but some of them will be a lot of fun for the adults at the party. There are themed trivia games - vampire, monster, and even a Stephen King trivia game. I have to try this one - I am a huge S.K. fan!!! There are also matching games where you match the candy bar to the given clue, word searches, charades, and coloring pages.

This database includes 50 games for $19.95. What a great deal! They are offering a special for my readers. Just visit this link for free Halloween coloring pages and a coupon. These games will make any fall party a smash!
This Product Was a Free Giveaway

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Baby Diner



Now that Sam is eating solid foods, I am already seeing how difficult feedings will be in the future. She is SO grabby! She has already ruined my laptop keyboard by grabbing my cereal bowl and spilling milk onto the keys. Not cool! When I feed her baby food in her high chair she is always reaching out and grabbing for the dishes. I'm already missing hot meals as it is, so I can just imagine how it will be once she's grabbing for food and I have to stop her through the entire meal. Thankfully I have found a product that will help save our plates and dishes (and the floor!) from grabby baby hands. And hopefully allow us to eat a hot meal, for a change.

The Baby Diner attaches to any smooth table top or structure and allows a parent to secure any smooth bottom sided dish to prevent your baby from accidentally knocking or throwing it on the floor. This product is very simple and easy, and it really works! I even tried it with one of Sammy's little Baby Cubes and it stayed on. I also tried it with one of our Corelle bowls. This product is going to be so useful once Sam starts eating out of larger dishes. I highly recommend it!

Baby Diner was created by a couple of parents who were tired of dealing with spilled dishes. Their solution became so popular that they decided to start their own company and share their invention with other parents. The Baby Diner secures all kinds of dishware, and since the Diner never touches food, there is no clean-up and no mess. It is very easy to put together - simple, but genius! The Baby Diner is safe for your baby - no BPA's, no lead, and no phthalate.

Would you like to try a Baby Diner for yourself? Check out their website at http://www.babydiner.net/. They are currently offering a "50% off Baby Diner" promotion for a limited time. It only lasts through October 15, so go get one now!



This Product Was a Free Giveaway

Super Baby Food!

 
This past weekend I made baby food!!! I have been following Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. I bought store bought organic brown rice cereal, since babies under 6 months aren't supposed to eat homemade rice cereal (their digestive systems aren't quite ready for the grains), but now we are on to fruits and veggies! I gave her avocado last week and just mashed it up raw and mixed it with breast milk, but the fruits and veggies need to be cooked.

The pears were super easy - I just peeled them and chopped them into small pieces, put them in a bowl with a little bit of water, and microwaved them for two minutes. Then I put them in my food processor with the cooking water and pureed them until they were almost liquid. I poured the puree into Baby Cubes and popped them in the freezer!
The sweet potatoes were easy too. I put them in a pot with a couple inches of water and steamed them for about 30-40 minutes. When they were soft all the way through I put them in cold water and had Mike pull the peels off for me. Then I cut them in small pieces and pureed them with their cooking liquid. I froze this puree in Baby Cubes too. I had so much puree from cooking two potatoes that I had to freeze the rest in ice cube trays!




Unfortunately we won't be using any of the food right away. Poor Sam has been super constipated from eating solids (she's going to hate me some day for sharing TMI with you!), so we are going to stop feeding her solids until we can get her regular again. Poor little girl! I was hoping the pears would help, but no luck. Hopefully she'll get past this soon. She must be SO uncomfortable right now. :(